What is a hip fracture?
The hip is a ball and socket joint at the top of the thigh bone, where it meets the pelvis. A hip fracture occurs when the bone in the ball part of the joint breaks. Your surgeon may refer to it as a ‘fractured neck of femur’ or ‘fracture of the proximal femur’.
What causes a hip fracture?
Falls are common in older people, and one in three people over 65 will fall each year. Slower reflexes can mean that they are unable to break their fall, and the hip often takes the brunt of the impact. Bone is strong and usually doesn’t break with a simple fall, but as we get older our bones become weaker. Osteoporosis and other bone diseases can increase the effect of age and further weaken bone. This means that even a fall from standing height can cause a fracture.
Many people with a hip fracture also have other medical, social and mental health conditions that pose problems for their operation and recovery.
What is the usual treatment?
The vast majority of people need an operation to get back on their feet, or just to move about in bed with comfort and dignity.A small number are too unwell for surgery.
Your operation will be one of the following:
> a partial or total hip replacement
> fixing the fracture with a plate
> fixing the fracture with screws
> fixing the fracture with a rod inside the thigh bone.
Your operation will depend on the type of fracture you have. You will need care from a team including paramedics, A&E staff,
orthopaedic surgeons, anaesthetists, geriatricians, nurses and physiotherapists. When necessary a pharmacist, occupational
therapist, dietician, speech therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist will also become involved in your care.
Your hospital can also arrange for a social worker to provide help if you need it after you leave hospital.